Duke alumni gathered this weekend to catch up with old classmates and give back to their alma mater—more than $11.1 million in givings.
President Richard Brodhead greeted former Duke students Saturday for his annual Reunions Weekend State of the University address in Page Auditorium Saturday afternoon. Drawing on his talk from last year, Brodhead’s speech highlighted the financial state of the University relative to the unfavorable economic conditions over the past several years.
Brodhead spoke to classes ranging from the Class of 1960 to the Class of 2010 on the importance of alumni donations and expressed his gratitude for those who have given to the University this year.
“You can help us give to future students the opportunities you valued in your time here,” he said.
Donations this year ranged from the Class of 2010’s gift of $20.10 to the Class of 1980’s check of almost $2.6 million. Brodhead noted that the University’s goal is to raise $11.4 million in alumni donations by June 30—the end of the fiscal year.
At the end of June, the class with the highest level of donation participation will win the “President’s Cup” and the class with the highest dollar total will receive the “President’s Platter,” Brodhead said.
In his speech, Brodhead noted that the recession has not hurt Duke as much as other institutions. Despite the poor economy, the number of students applying to Duke has increased within the last couple years, he said, adding that 26,700 students applied to join the Class of 2014—a 10,000-applicant increase from six years ago.
Brodhead noted that Duke still manages to allocate $100 million for undergraduate financial aid each year.
“The great universities aren’t the ones that only make progress during plush times,” Brodhead said. “The great universities are the ones that keep making progress in bad times too.”
In addition to Duke’s finances, Brodhead described the current status of the campus and student body. He mentioned the constructions of the Nasher Museum of Art and the French Family Science Center, the success of the men’s basketball team and the recent improvement of the football team.
He also noted the important role diversity in culture and skill plays in campus atmosphere.
“Every day there is talent coming together to do something that no one could do alone,” Brodhead said.
The congregation gave Brodhead a standing ovation as he finished his speech with a final thank-you to all who returned for campus for Reunions Weekend.
“President Brodhead is very charismatic and I thought he did very well,” said Laura Dawahare, Trinity ’85. “Also, I live in Lexington, Ky. so I was very excited about [the National Championship] win.”
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